Friday, February 20, 2015

Social Media Strategy at Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood the Women's Reproductive Rights Organisation utilised Social media to its full advantage in furthering its cause and countering opposing forces. Some of the salient features of its Strategy are
1. Initial Phase(2002 - 2011):

  • In this phase the organisation formalised its presence in the various Social Media Sites like Facebook(2004), Twitter(2006), Youtube(2005) and through emails.
  • E mail was the primary source through which the organisation communicated with its supporters.
  • It was more oriented towards disseminating information.
2. Present Phase(2011 onwards)

  • The impending defunding vote in the Senate(2011) led to a rethink of the entire Social Media Strategy.
  • Planned Parenthood realised the importance of channelising the passion of its supporters and using it creatively in its favour using Social Media.
  • Promoted supporters to re mix and re post messages and stories in their own way which led to lot of innovation and continuity.
  • Stressed on constant communication within the organisation as well as with the supporters.
  • Used Search Engine Optimisation to direct traffic towards their Social Media Sites.
  • Innovations like Videos making fun of themselves and Photos of Celebrities supporting their cause continued the interest of the supporters.
  • Managed the challenge of engaging new supporters who were tech savvy and content creators with the organisation's  own professional goals along with the existing supporters who were primarily women between 18 - 45 years of age.
3. Tussle with Komen(Nov, 2011 - Feb, 2012):

  • Having a proactive Social Media Strategy with primed  and engaged supporters because of previous Crisis management experiences helped immensely, as the campaign took off immediately. Within minutes of the Associated Press Story Release, Planned Parenthood was able to tweet to thousands of its supporters with  a message and a link to the Press Release.
  • Planned Parenthood decided on a multi pronged strategy of breaking news, educating its supporters and advocacy for its cause.
  • Planned Parenthood kept a steady focus on engaging and uniting the supporters (since the supporters  wanted to do something to show their support) . They asked them to increase funding to replace the cut in aid from Komen. They further asked the supporters to do whatever was meaningful.
  • Having creative supporters helped. As the traffic increase virally on their Social Media Sites the organisation directed them to independent blogs run by supporters such as Zandt on Tumblr. This managed to give the impression of a responsive organisation which was interactive Plus led to amplification of its campaign.
  • Planned Parenthood had organised a bank of experience stories before hand. This came in handy for posting novel content and keeping up the interest quotient.
  • The staff tried to respond to nearly all the traffic with suitable responses and for this they effectively used reposting and retweeting to cut down their workload.
  • Tools like 'Promoted Tweets' were used to spur conversations.
In the end Komen was forced to back track and withdraw its decision to cut funding primarily because of the Social Media Storm it had created indirectly.


  1. Thanks Devesh. This will help us in presenting the case next week :)

  2. As you know, businesses of all sizes right from McDonald’s and Coca-Cola down to your local hardware store are trying to get a presence on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Think of how many ‘Fan pages’ and advertisements you have seen on Facebook recently for businesses in your local area.

    It’s a big thing right now and it’s making people just like you a lot of money.